When asked the question “who is my neighbor” in Luke 10:36, Jesus responded by using the parable of the good Samaritan to make it clear that anyone in need of our help is our neighbor. The parable of the good Samaritan is as relevant today as it was back then. The global events that we are currently witnessing have presented numerous opportunities for us to practice the spirit of good ‘neighborliness’ one with another. Here at ServeNow we have remained true to our mission and continue to meet the needs of the most vulnerable around the world through provision of much needed relief in the form of care packages. These care packages have supplied food and hygiene items to help ease the pain and burden of our ‘neighbors’ – individuals and families around the world experiencing the effects of Corona virus and the added repercussions of the lock down.
This past April, Oxfam predicted that COVID-19 “could push half a billion more people into poverty.” Similarly, the World Food Program has forecasted famine of biblical proportion with the potential for the number of people facing life-threatening food insecurity doubling. These stressful events appear to be the perfect storm that would divide us and cause us all to feel hopeless. However, amid this darkness has come a light that continues to shine. Neighbors are helping neighbors. And with the unwavering support of faithful partners despite their own needs, ServeNow has seen many lives transformed for the better during this challenging season. Additionally, and with the most recent crisis instigated by racial inequalities, this has only served to demonstrate our common bond of humanity, with neighbor helping neighbor, standing up against injustice and pushing for equal, fair and just policies for all. And just like the saying that, nothing unites us like a crisis, there has been a unity formed during this season that has served as a beacon of hope for many in situations that would otherwise have been hopeless. Our national leaders together with their local network of volunteers are using creative ways to meet the needs of people in their communities who are most at risk.
Lives being transformed in Burundi and Uganda:
The book “The Basic Things You Need to Know About Jesus” is having a massive impact on people in Burundi. Reverends, pastors, teachers, evangelists, and leaders of different denominations, including leaders of large missions are testifying to the wonderful changes that studying this booklet has led them to. Many who have attended the training on this book have confessed that this is the very first resource they are receiving to support them with Bible study. As a result of this training, 75 servant leaders have been impacted and are now ready to implement the basic program at their local church level.
Additional good news from Uganda, which has been under some of the strictest restrictions during COVID-19 lockdown is that the country has started to slowly ease these restrictions. There have been some lessons learned during this season as one of our partner shares: “The lockdown has given us a clear picture of the Church of Christ. The Church is not the building that has been closed, but rather the real Church of Christ are the believers. In fact, Church (as a body) has not been closed. In the days of the early Church, members used to gather in homes. This has challenged me to teach members in our small home gatherings from the booklet “The Basic Things You Need to Know About the Church”. The members are being encouraged to remain faithful to God as a pure and blameless Church. I appreciate ServeNow for all The Basic Series booklets because they are practical and can be used at the time of need.”
Seeing the love of Jesus in Benin:
In the picture below is Akotègnon. He is blind. He lost sight in both eyes one morning about 10 years ago. Life has not been easy for him. Last week, he was at home when a special team visited him and told him about Jesus’ love. The team from Clement’s church demonstrated this love by offering him a bag of dry food to cook. Deeply moved and grateful, here is what he had to say: “I have now understood that Jesus of the city is also Jesus of the village. Thank you very much team, please continue to pray for me that I regain my sight”. And we are believing with him that Jesus Christ will restore sight to his eyes.
Lighthouse Centers have reopened in Nepal:
Lighthouse Centers in Nepal are reopening although in limited capacity. Here’s some great news that has been shared with us by partners in Nepal: “We have started classes at the Lighthouse Center in Balkhu slum for children. They seem so excited to be at the center again where they can feel loving care, where there is a learning environment and hope for their better future. Currently, we are following appropriate hygiene routines, using hand sanitizers and social distancing. Only children from the same families or those who live in the immediate vicinity can sit at the same table. We have also identified the need to provide hygiene kits and masks to the children. We are following up on other children in the community as well”.
Finally, some good news coming from the US is that things have started slowly reopening and the ServeNow team is back in the office. As we reflect on the events of the past months, we are reminded of the wonderful commitment of our partners who have tirelessly extended their support to our mission to share Christ’s passion with our most marginalized ‘neighbors’ around the world. And our common bond in Christ is even more reinforced as Colossians 3:10 – 11 reminds us to: “put on the new self, which is being renewed in knowledge in the image of its creator. Here there is no Greek or Jew, circumcised or uncircumcised, barbarian, scythian, slave or free, but Christ is all, and in all”.
We are grateful for your partnership without which what we have shared here would not be possible!